20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
Whether they’re battling for survival, the planet, or just the God-given right to boogie down at the local country club, man and nature have always been at each others throats at the movies. Across the cinematic landscape, a great many battles have been waged between humans and animals, and as viewers, our sympathies often shift between the species. With Dawn of the Planet of the Apes hitting theaters tomorrow, here are our favorite man versus animal films, and who we side with in each expedition.
What’s it about? After crash-landing in the Alaskan wilderness, a group of men must survive the elements and a pack of feral wolves.
What are the humans fighting for? Surviving ’til the end credits.
What are the animals fighting for? Tasty chunks of Liam Neeson.
Who do we root for? Once Neeson strapped those tiny booze bottles to his knuckles, we were firmly on team Liam.
What’s it about? Swarms of birds begin attacking a sleepy California town.
What are the humans fighting for? Their safety, clean cars.
What are the animals fighting for? It’s never explained, but we’re guessing tastier bread crumbs.
Who do we root for? The birds… hey, it’s a Hitchcock movie, so we just root for mayhem.
Once Upon a Forest
What’s it about? Three young forest animals try to save a friend, who is wounded by chlorine gas from a human truck accident.
What are the humans fighting for? Nothing in particular.
What are the animals fighting for? Survival, their friend, their home.
Who do we root for? Since the humans accidentally orphan a tiny woodland creature, it’s obvious we’re rooting for the animals.
What’s it about? Bill Murray tries to kill a pesky gopher terrorizing Bushwood Country Club.
What are the humans fighting for? The golf course, their sanity.
What is the animal fighting for? The gopher just wants to cause as much chaos as possible and dance like crazy.
Who do we root for? Definitely the gopher. He’s all right. Don’t gotta worry ’bout him.
How to Train Your Dragon
What’s it about? On the Island of Berk, a young boy befriends a dragon in the midst of a human/dragon feud.
What are the humans fighting for? Their safety and their livestock.
What are the animals are fighting for? Sheep. Freedom. Mostly sheep.
Who do we root for? The dragons, obviously. Vikings are cool, but… c’mon. Dragons.
What’s it about?: Three men try to take down a gigantic shark that’s been terrorizing a beach town.
What are the humans are fighting for? Survival, pride, and shark teeth to sell to tourists.
What is the animal is fighting for? The right to eat silly beach-goers.
Who do we root for? After all that male bonding, how could we not root for Richard Dreyfuss and co?
What’s it about?: A mythical gigantic ape is captured and forced to move to New York City.
What are the humans are fighting for?: Money, fame, a dangerous circus exhibit that will totally never backfire.
What is the animal fighting for? Freedom, his human woman, a chance to see that Empire State Building that everyone’s been talking about.
Who do we root for? King Kong, because no one should be forced to live in Midtown.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
What’s it about? James Franco starts humanity down the slippery slope of extinction by making apes really smart.
What are the humans fighting for?: Some for tyranny, some for survival.
What are the animals fighting for?: Respect, dominance, way more bananas.
Who we rooted for: The writing is on the wall. Let’s embrace our ape overlords.